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RECYCLED LOVE: Think about pet-safe plants, flowers


Consider which plants and flowers are safe to have around your pet.
Consider which plants and flowers are safe to have around your pet. - 123RF Stock Photo

One morning last week, I opened my front door to grab our copy of The Chronicle Herald, just like I have for 20 years. I was surprised to find a bouquet of beautiful tulips hanging from the doorknob.

I honestly could not figure out who they were from, as I am too old to have a secret admirer.

By the time my husband came into the kitchen, I discovered the flowers were from our neighbours. Overnight, they had sent us a text message thanking us for helping them get through the winter. I beamed with pride because I knew what they meant.

My kind-hearted husband has been clearing their laneway all winter. Therefore, the flowers were indeed for him and well deserved.

The flowers made me think about gardening, but more specifically, how some plants are hazardous to pets.

I thought this may be a terrific time to remind pet owners of the dangers and also which plants are pet friendly.

If you like to grow herbs indoors, you will be happy to know that basil, thyme and sage are safe for pets.

I usually grow mine in a planter outside, but I will definitely start them inside this year.

Popular indoor plants which are pet safe include the parlour palm, prayer plant, Swedish ivy, baby’s tears, baby rubber plant, Boston fern and the African violet. Outdoor plants that are safe include snapdragons, cornflowers, marigolds and pansies.

Indoor plants that are poisonous to pets include the jade plant, aloe, calla lilies, birds of paradise, geraniums, dieffenbachia, begonias and cacti.

A few outdoor plants that are poisonous include daffodils, lilies, tulips, chrysanthemums and hydrangeas.

My list of pet-safe and unsafe plants is by no means complete. It is only meant to be used as a starting point to consider before you plan your summer garden.

Physical signs your pet may have ingested something poisonous may include the following: loss of appetite, vomiting, excessive drooling, diarrhea, lethargy and even seizures.

Some plants do not have to be ingested. Your pet may simply rub against it and then lick off the pollen.

Some pets may experience skin rashes, blisters or extreme itchiness. If you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous, take them to your veterinarian immediately.

I spoke with a few of my friends who have pets and was pleasantly surprised to find out they are just like me; they do not have indoor plants.

I have had many different varieties of indoor plants in the past, but when our home became a multiple-pet place, I gave the plants away.

I needed to simplify my housework because of nail trims, litter box changing, brushing or bathing pets and walking the dogs. I am now considering indoor plants once again.

I hope you and your pets have a safe and healthy spring.

Please be kind to animals.

Tracy Jessiman is a pet portrait artist who lives in Halifax with her husband and their three pets. She is a volunteer with Animal Rescue Coalitions of Nova Scotia. She has been rescuing animals most of her life, but more intimately, animals rescued her.

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